EAGLES NFL DRAFT PREVIEW: Defensive Tackles

The Eagles have drafted a DE in 9 straight drafts, but haven't taken a DT since 2017, so the time may be now, even though the class isn't supposed to be very deep
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PHILADELPHIA – For all the talk that the Eagles like to build along both sides of the football, on the offensive and defensive lines, they haven’t done a good job replenishing the defensive tackle position.

Defensive ends, yes. They always seem to draft one of those. In fact, they have drafted a defensive end in every draft since 2012.

The list:

2020: Casey Toohill, seventh round (now with Washington)

2019: Shareef Miller, fourth round (bust)

2018: Josh Sweat, fourth round

2017: Derek Barnett, first round

2016: Alex McCalister, seventh round (bust)

2015: Brian Mihalik, seventh round (mostly a bust)

2014: Taylor Hart, fifth round (mostly a bust)

2013: Joe Kruger and David King, seventh round (bust and bust)

2012: Vinny Curry, second round (terrific pick)

Defensive tackles, well, the list isn’t much:

2017: Elijah Qualls, sixth round (bust)

2014: Beau Allen, seventh round (Super Bowl contributor)

2013: Bennie Logan, third round

2012: Fletcher Cox, first round

That’s it.

This year's group will be without Malik Jackson, who signed with Cleveland after being released in a salary-cap purge. Javon Hargrave will enter his second season with the team, and play for a new position coach, Tracy Rocker.

It took Hargrave some adjustment time after arriving as a free agent last year. but he played reasonably well down the stretch.

The best of the lot remains Fletcher Cox, who is now 30.

Hassan Ridgeway has always shown flashes but hasn't been able to stay healthy the past two seasons.

Think maybe they’re due to find one at some point early in this year’s draft?

The trouble is this crop of tackles has thin roots. Or that is the perception, anyway.

Will the Eagles find one early, late, somewhere in between? They have 11 picks. One should, and probably will go to a D-tackle.

DEPTH CHART

Fletcher Cox

Javon Hargrave

Hassan Ridgeway

T.Y. McGill

Raequan Williams

Treyvon Hester

BUILDING THE PERFECT DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Pass rusher – Christian Barmore, Alabama: To limit the 6-4, 310 Barmore, who is from Philadelphia, to just a pass rusher would be an injustice. He could fit any of the following categories and is the best DT in this class and might be the only one who will be taken in the first round. He played just two seasons for the Tide, a total of 22 games, and had 10 sacks, including eight last year when he was named the national championship games Defensive MVP with five tackles, two for loss, and one sack.

Run stopper – Alim McNeill, NC State: He led all Power 5 DTs in run defense with a grade of 92.1, and at 6-2, 217 pounds is athletic enough to rush the passer, too. He had 17.5 tackles for loss in 32 career games with the Wolfpack and 10 sacks.

First step quickness – Levi Onwuzuriki, Washington: He needs to rely on his quickness because he’s considered a bit undersized at 6-3, 290 and would be best suited for an attack-style front.

Strongest – Jaylen Twyman, Pitt: Considered a mid-round pick, he opened some eyes by bench pressing 225 pounds 40 times during his pro day.

Hustle – Jay Tufele, USC: One scouting report said he has a “hyper-charged motor” and his athleticism, at 6-2, 305, allows him to make plays. He is fluid, with good range and his speed helps him get quickly to a ballcarrier.

EAGLE MAVEN TOP 10

Christian Barmore, Alabama

Alim McNeill, NC State

Levi Onwuzuriki, Washington

Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA

Jay Tufele, USC

Daviyon Nixon, Iowa

Tommy Togiai, Ohio State

Tyler Shelvin, LSU

Marvin Wilson, Florida State

Bobby Brown, Texas A&M

Sleeper – Jaylen Twyman, Pitt

Boom or Bust – Daviyon Nixon, Iowa

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.